Films Without Borders premiere in London

By Jessica Elgot, November 4, 2010
Omri Bezalel meets Prince Edward at the post-screening party

Omri Bezalel meets Prince Edward at the post-screening party

Young film directors from Israel and Palestine were given a royal welcome by Prince Edward following the London Film Festival premiere of their projects for Films Without Borders.

They were two of three chosen in April by the charity, which teaches film-making to young people in conflict zones, to each record an interview with Star Wars creator George Lucas. The other was from Rwanda.

The films were also shown in Cannes and the Israeli film-maker, Omri Bezalel, additionally had his award-winning short "mockumentary" E. X. A. screened at the London event. The story is about a competitive family vying to be champions at an excretion contest.

Prince Edward and Four Weddings director Mike Newell were among the 100 guests at a reception at the Lanesborough Hotel after the screening of the films at the Apollo Cinema in Piccadilly.

Mr Bezalel, 26, a former IDF Navy Seal, was pleased with the audience reaction to E. X. A. which he was "not sure the British would get".

He said the interview with Mr Lucas had influenced the film. "He told me that I will never find a new story to tell, but I need to find a different way to tell it.

"This film is about pushy parents and sibling rivalry, but no one ever made a film about people competing over their poop before."

TV producer and director of the charity, Jill Samuels, said Mr Bezalel's film had attracted interest from distributors. "Israel, Palestine and Rwanda should be really proud of these three boys for what they have achieved."

An auction at the reception raised £10,000, with prizes including a walk-on part in the forthcoming film about Marilyn Monroe, My Week with Marilyn.

The three film-makers will now return to their countries as ambassadors for the charity and teach a film-making course to disadvantaged young people.

Last updated: 4:46pm, November 4 2010